I have been a Parishioner here at St. Joseph for all 26 years of my life. One topic that is especially close to my heart is that of women – women in the Church, and in the world. I know that our Church has spoken on the topic of women before (St. John Paul’s Mulieris Dignitatem and Letter to Women, the USSCB’s From Words to Deeds, etc). However, in our world today there are several conversations happening right now around women’s rights, women’s leadership and influence, and women’s role in the family, society, and our beloved Church.
There are Women’s Marches all across the United States and other countries (I hear of an upcoming Women’s March in Kuala Lumpur soon, organized by certain NGOs) and debates about how to achieve true equality for women. Last year, the word feminism was Merriam-Webster’s most looked up word of the year. I think women have a hunger to understand what it means to be a woman – to be a strong and fulfilled woman. But women – the Church’s women – are surrounded by an unprecedented swarm of opinions and ideas of what this looks like. Perhaps this concerns mostly millennial women, women like me, my peers and the younger generation. Facing this swarm and yearning for truth, we need to hear the Church’s voice.
International Women’s Day was on Thursday, March 8th and I’m looking forward to celebrating it together with everyone in our parish this Sunday. This global day of celebrating women and womanhood is an especially active time for conversations about women’s issues, and it prompts many women and importantly, many men to think about these things.
We desperately need the Church’s voice amidst this discussion of women’s dignity, rights, and roles – both to affirm where we agree and to challenge where truth is being distorted.
Although our parish has graciously been committed to empowering women through ministries like the Women Ministry, much of the discussion and plight of women are seen in an isolated manner (understood, participated, and sympathized by mostly women) rather than an integral issue involving both men and women – a poignant issue that impedes the onward progress for equality if it does not gain full participation of its male counterparts.
By Juliet Gregory
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